Legislature committees advance gas tax increase plan

New Jersey Senate and Assembly budget committees have voted to pass a bipartisan plan to raise the Garden State's gas tax as a way to replenish the state's transportation trust fund.

The 23-cent gas tax increase would be used to fund transportation projects in the state. If approved by Gov. Chris Christie, the new tax on gas would be 37.5 cents per gallon. The tax also applies to jet fuel.

Legislators say that the gas tax increase is desperately needed in order to start new projects and repairs on the state's transportation system. They're relying on this bill to add billions to the state's transportation trust fund. That fund needs to be renewed this summer and the deadline to renew is approaching.

Although there has been talk about a gas tax increase to replenish the fund for months, word that the increase would be 23 cents was only recently announced.

Advocacy group Americans for Prosperity says that New Jersey residents are angry over the proposed increase.

"They are pissed, and they can't believe how fast this is coming," says Americans for Prosperity's Erica Jedynak. "We didn't have the actual bill until late last night. It was swapped out, and now there are amendments."

The bill will also cut out New Jersey's estate tax. Gov. Christie said he wouldn't support any plan that didn't have tax fairness. He has not said if he would sign this bill.

The bill will now go to the full Assembly and Senate for votes next week.

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